In a rematch of last year's semi-final, Real Madrid will host Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday.
Los Blancos will be looking to avenge last year's defeat at the hands of the visitors, who have had to battle injuries and bad luck all season, yet still find themselves in the hunt for the "old big ears."
While the hosts will be overwhelming favourites going into this tie, Real know all too well not to underestimate their German guests.
Date: Wednesday, April 2
Time: 7.45. p.m. GMT/2:45. p.m. ET
Venue: Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid
TV Info and Live Stream: The match will be broadcast on Sky Sports 4 and Sky Sports 4 HD, with mobile coverage available via the Sky Go app (subscription required).
According to Footballzz.co.uk, Wednesday will mark the ninth time these two clubs meet each other, with Real leading the all-time series with three wins and three games ending in draws.
Real won the last meeting at the Bernabeu by a score of 2-0, but Dortmund beat Los Blancos 4-1 at home to advance to last year's final.
Borussia also took the group series that year, drawing Real in Madrid and emerging victorious 2-1 at home, so the hosts will be warned about their recent luck against the Schwarzgelben.
Statistics and Key Info
WhoScored.com provides a nice visual representation of some of the key stats going into this tie:
These clubs met twice last year, but as shared by Balls.ie, injuries and transfers have taken their toll on the visitors to the point where the team is hardly recognisable:
The list of vital players not available for Die Borussen is staggering: Neven Subotic, Ilkay Gundogan, Jakub Blaszczykowski, Sven Bender, Jannik Bandowski and Marcel Schmelzer will all miss this match with injuries, while star striker Robert Lewandowski will be suspended, per WhoScored.com.
This spells disaster for last year's finalists, as Real have been one of the most in-form teams in the competition this season. While Los Blancos will also miss several players (Sami Khedira, Alvaro Arbeloa, Jese and Marcelo are struggling with injuries), the team's issues don't compare with those of the visitors.
One thing that could play in Dortmund's favour is the tight La Liga title race the hosts currently find themselves in, as the pace Atletico Madrid and Barcelona have set hasn't allowed coach Carlo Ancelotti to rest some of his key players.
Los Blancos have looked tired and uninspired at times, and could be vulnerable for the first time this season.
Real's complete destruction of Schalke 04 in the previous round was ugly, so Borussia Dortmund knows all too well what the hosts are capable of when things are going their way.
Sandra Goldschmidt shared the club's impressive Champions League numbers, as well as the name of the last club to beat Los Blancos in the competition:
Real Madrid come in to this match on the back of a 9 game unbeaten CL run. The last CL game they lost was the SF first leg in Dortmund.— Sandra Goldschmidt (@SanBorussia) March 31, 2014
She also shared how heavily the club has relied on star man Lewandowski in its recent bouts with Real:
Lewandowski has scored 5 goals in his last 4 Champions League appearances against Real Madrid; more often than against any other opponent.— Sandra Goldschmidt (@SanBorussia) March 31, 2014
That last bit of information is key. Real Madrid will present a challenge to any club in football, and with the exception of Bayern Munich, Los Blancos might boast the most talented squad left in the competition.
With the amount of injuries and suspensions Dortmund are struggling with, it seems almost impossible for the team to overcome such a challenge. Look for Real to go for the jugular early and put this tie to bed at home.
Full prediction: Real Madrid 4-1 Borussia Dortmund.